Capitol Hill Considers Tax Breaks For Pet Owners
An Animal Rights Article from


Lauren Wilbert List,
October 2009

Legislators in Washington, D.C., with support from animal rights groups, are considering a bill that pairs tax cuts and pet ownership, ABC News reports.

The Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years measure, also called the HAPPY Act, aims at helping current pet owners in these tough economic times and also hopes to encourage pet adoption through attractive incentives.

From the article, posted Oct. 13: Betsy Dribben, vice president of government relations for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is realistic about the bill's prospects. Her group is supporting the bill but taking a wait-and-see attitude before pressing members of Congress. But with more attention being paid to the fate of pets whose owners lose their homes, she said interest is growing on Capitol Hill and beyond about how the government can respond. "There is a move afoot. There is a general acknowledgment that people really care about their pets," Dribben said. "Taking care of pets does cost money, and during the dramatic decline of people's income and the shaky economy, any possibility of assisting people in meeting those costs should be looked at."

According estimates from The Humane Society, 39 percent of American households own at least one dog, and 38 percent own at least one cat. As many as 62 percent U.S. households own a pet. The bill includes tax breaks not only for cats and dogs, but also for legally owned exotic pets. Considering the costs of keeping pets, which varies between about $650 a year on average for a cat and almost $900 a year on average for a dog, a tax break would be nice for many New Orleans pet owners. A cap of $3,500 would be put on the tax break per person. Don't get too excited, though. Even with support from Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., the measure seems unlikely to pass. That doesn't mean we can't chat about it! What do you think - would you support a tax break for pet owners?

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